The heart of this part of the city is undoubtedly the Plaza de Armas. Everything in that perimeter is amazing, starting with its monumental pavilion, known as “El Pulpo” ( The Octopus), which was installed to replace the first one that literally was blown away by the wind during the cyclone of 1933. It is worth noting that this was not the region’s most tragic meteorological phenomenon most in the region—there was another one that would come a little over twenty years later.
As you tour the colossal pink octopus, you will notice an unusual neocolonial, baroque and eclectic mix that could only happen in Mexico and that manages to unite fantastically without breaking into the absolute beauty of the Catedral de Tampico (Tampico’s Cathedral), located a few meters behind.
Dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, this opulent neoclassical church opens its three large doors to parishioners and visitors so that they can admire each of the jewels and curiosities contained within.
Its central niche, in white Carrara marble, shines and coexists with the surroundings in ivory tones and multiple vaults from start to finish. Inside, in addition to numerous paintings, murals and majestic altarpieces, there is a clock brought from London, which was a gift from the Spanish landowner Don Ángel Sáinz Trápaga, a famous figure in the region.
A curious and visible aspect in the central aisle of the Cathedral is a series of swastikas that go from the entrance to the altar, a disconcerting fact for some people. It has nothing to do with what it seems, but rather that it is “gamadas” (swastika style cross) which were placed almost a century ago and symbolize, according to the chroniclers, Christ as the eternal light.
When you leave the Cathedral, go to the Plaza de Armas where you will find El Globito (The little Balloon), a famous refreshment shop, which for more than eighty years operated 24 hours a day. Today, although it works with new schedules, it is still a tradition where locals and visitors take a break and some revitalizing fruit crush.
Tampico is also famous for being the birthplace of one of the most beloved characters in Mexican pop culture and cinematography—Mauricio Garcés. Without leaving the Plaza de Armas, you will be able to find his statue, where you will also see one of the actor Humprey Bogart, who filmed The Treasure of the Sierra Madre in the municipality, and another statue dedicated to President Porfirio Díaz and one more that corresponds to an unusual character, “Pepito el Terrestre”, or El Gigante de Tampico (Tampico’s Giant), remembered for being the tallest man in the world, no less than 2 and a half meters (over 8 feet).